Helmets are a No-Brainer
The high collision nature of hockey and no-give boards surrounding many games makes this a high-risk sport for head injuries, even with a helmet. Foregoing a helmet makes you a target for brain injury. A properly-fitted helmet (and mouth guard) are your best safeguards. Use them whenever you play, whether it’s a game or not.
As parents and coaches, learn and teach your athletes the symptoms of a concussion. A great resource can be found at the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html
Know the basics – you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. When a concussion occurs, the brain is injured resulting in chemical changes affecting function and the ability to break down various compounds.
Know the symptoms of a Concussion
General guidelines for determining return to play are:
- All concussions should be evaluated by a doctor prior to returning to play.
- Never return to play on the same day as the injury or if you are still experiencing symptoms.
- Any previous concussion increases risk.
- If symptom-free – perform an exertion challenge (for example, a 40 yard sprint, multiple pushups or situps) and if you remain symptom-free, with clearance, you can return to play.
Symptoms of a Concussion
- Trouble remembering immediate details (score of game, opponents, period)
- Decreased coordination
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Foggy, poor concentration
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Invest in Good Equipment
Make sure all safety equipment fits properly. Gear that is under- or over-sized can impair its ability to reduce or prevent injury. Wear all safety equipment every time you play or practice, it’s your primary safeguard. Remember, when it comes to safety gear, it’s important to switch it out when the padding becomes worn or it no longer fits properly.
The following resource may also be of help to you:
AAOS website – OrthoInfo - Hockey Injury Prevention